Judge Posner: Public Opinion in Public Affairs
Richard Posner: Oh I don’t think . . . Judges at our level, I don’t think think much about public opinion. I think the Supreme Court does because, you know, it’s interesting example a couple of years ago. There’s a Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which is California and a number of the western states decided that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional. And that caused a certain sensation. But on the other hand it was just the Ninth Circuit. It was just the west. And anyway it was subject to appeal by the Supreme Court. Well the Supreme Court found a technical ground for reversing the decision. It didn’t deal with the issues of religious freedom that are involved. It was very technical. Now if the Supreme Court decided “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional, that would have a tremendous impact. And I . . . I think the Supreme Court justices, consciously or unconsciously, are mindful of the public opinion consequence of any decision. But at our level, our decisions would rarely have significant effect on public opinion. So the response to the public is not a . . . not a factor. But on the other hand, there’s no doubt that judges’ ideological views, and political responses, and moral feelings and so on are influenced by the temper of the . . . of the community. So some of us think what we mean by morality is durable public opinion, right? So the judges will share the morality of their community, which is ultimately a product of what people feel. So public opinion has a, you know, tremendous underground effect. The courts are all more conservative, for example, than they were in the ‘60s. So there’s been an ideological drift in the country. And equivalently, there’s been a change in public opinion, and that’s affected who has been appointed as a judge; but also effected how judges react.
Recorded on: 11/21/07
Judge Posner talks about the difference between judges at the Circuit level and the Supreme Court when it comes to public opinion influencing decision.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.